Friday, August 31, 2012

The Ryan Express

The Republican National Convention wrapped things up last night for election year 2012, concluding with an amusing sequence by Clint Eastwood, no less, and a masterful speech by their nominee.  Mitt Romney seems like a sincere fellow.  Well, don't they all?  As the saying goes, once you can fake sincerity, you've got it made.  The difference between an honest man and a liar does not reside in what either will tell you, as both will insist they're telling the truth.  So which is Mitt?  I can't really say.

But to me, at least as interesting as what Mitt said were the things he left unsaid.  He said remarkably little about the most important political issue of our time:  the out-of-control spending and the impending catastrophe that awaits if we don't find some way to stop it.  Conservatives are expected to presume that, with the simple act of nominating Paul Ryan to be the vice-presidential candidate, Romney has shown that he favors dealing with the problem head on.

Perhaps.  But I'm not yet convinced.  Is Ryan's main issue, fiscal responsibility, the engine that motivates Romney?  Or is that just part of the confetti, another float in a dishonest parade intended only to garner the cheers of the faithful -- all the better to line the fiscal trough with Republican snouts for the next four years?  And assuming the desire is there, would a Romney administration really have the political and moral gumption to deal with the debt?  Or would his win amount merely to another casting change -- same business-as-usual taxpayer rape, different rapist?

If the Republicans were serious about fiscal sanity, the skeptic could ask, then why are their relations with the Tea Party so strained?   The Tea Party should be their natural allies -- indeed, there would have been no need for a Tea Party in the first place if Republicans did as Republicans said.

The sad truth is that Republicans have been all too eager to join in the Washington spending orgy. We have two political parties in America and each one wants to spend us all into the poorhouse. But one of those parties, the Republicans, has to pretend otherwise every two years -- and it is their misfortune to be dependent on the votes of millions of people who really do want to stanch the financial hemorrhage. This makes life quite inconvenient for the GOP -- not unlike, say, a preacher with a pious congregation who really wants nothing more than to strip off his clothes and dance with the girls at the nudie bar. The hard part, from the GOP perspective, is doing what you want while managing to keep your job.

We're never going to get restraint from the Democrats, as they are the party of the strippers. The Republicans don't want it either, but the hope is that they can be threatened into embracing it by their congregation. The Tea Party exists for the sole purpose of grabbing the GOP by the scruff of the neck and duck-walking them out of the nudie bar and back into church. They are that part of the Republicans' constituency that felt upset and betrayed when they discovered that the fiscally-responsible puritans they thought they had sent to Washington turned out to be sybaritic nudie dancers after all.

The name for all this is accountability, and you can just tell nobody likes it.


Anonymous said...

As president, Romney's stated goal will be to bring federal spending below 20 percent of GDP by the end of his first term: Reduced from 24.3 percent last year; in line with the historical trend between 18 and 20 percent. He has stated this many times.

That represents a huge spending cut from current federal outlays. How feasible this goal is to actually accomplish and how hard Romney would work to bring it about are open questions and somewhat subject to the new congressional composition next year.

Medicare must be adequately addressed very soon.

Lee said...

My gut feeling is that Romney is a consensus-driven, go-along-to-get-along typical Republican who, once elected, will relegate conservatives to the showcase window and the real decisions to the GOP insiders.

I invite Romney to prove me wrong.